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December 12, 2017

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Legislature takes up bills to stop taxing tampons, diapers

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

In this June 22, 2016 file photo, Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton’s Market, in Sacramento, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 rejected an attempt to waive taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products.

Lawmakers nearing a deadline next week have heard two bills that seek to temporarily end the tampon tax, with one measure also seeking to exempt diapers.

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, D-Las Vegas, is sponsoring the measure that includes diapers. She said Thursday that Nevada has already decided not to tax groceries and other items deemed necessities, as well as certain products that are non-essential.

“We currently don’t tax soda, we don’t tax candy, there’s no reason we should be taxing feminine hygiene products or diapers,” she said before Assembly Bill 402 came up for a hearing Thursday.

Jauregui intended for her bill and Senate Bill 415 to be amended to remove a 2028 expiration date, but Assemblywoman Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas, said during the hearing that sales tax exemptions require a sunset clause.

If the bill passes and voters OK the exemption, Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada pegged money lost to the state on tampons alone at about $6.5 million per fiscal year out of the total sales tax revenue of $1.8 billion. During the hearing Thursday, he stressed that this was a very rough and unofficial estimate.

Wachter was among the neutral testimony on the bill to note that Nevada already has a narrow tax base to draw from.

Jauregui said she’s requested but hasn’t yet received an official analysis of the fiscal impact.

Assemblyman Jim Marchant, R-Las Vegas, asked about jockstraps before questioning the potential cost to Nevada if these products are exempted.

“Can I add my jockstrap purchases to your list? You might argue it’s not a necessity, but I might beg to differ,” he said.

Lawmakers are approaching a committee deadline on April 14, with some exceptions possible for certain bills. Whichever version passes a floor vote first will be molded into its counterpart.

The Legislature could then choose to send that single bill to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature. A signed measure would put the question on the General Election ballot in 2018.

No one spoke in opposition to AB402 on Thursday or when the Senate version was heard March 30.

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